Education#ii An inspiring vocational school for school dropouts

We take a detour here.

Before we proceed with our adventures, let us marvel the work of an amazing individual.   The meticulously recorded work of this School founder will touch your soul.

I share with you the report of a genius mind who laboured for 30 years in a small village – Pabal – to setup Vigyan Ashram, a non-formal school that would welcome school dropouts and train them to participate in the workforce with jobs they can take pride in.

Vigyan Ashram

a non-profit vocational School established in 1983 for children who dropout from school well before Class X

The Vigyan Ashram has been in existence since 1983, imparting rural technology training to the youth in and around the district of Pune, specifically Pabal. The Ashram established a successful program called Rural Development through Educational System. This program is supported by the Department of Rural Development, through CAPART, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and accepted by the Board of Secondary Education, Maharashtra. The program will now take the RDES method of learning by doing, into classrooms all over the state.

All the buildings here in the Ashram have been built by the students themselves, who get all their learning from practical experience. The simple fabrication workshop here, provides a great deal of service to the community at modest costs.

Many of the students have started their own enterprises – like workshops, electrical and construction services, poultry and agriculture service centres etcetera.

Report Introduction

In the fifty years since independence, India has advanced technologically to become a major force in the global market. All this could not be possible without the spread of education to every level.

Though the urban centres have become highly advanced, the rural grass root level still lags behind, and for power to reach the people, they must become technologically self sufficient. Now is the time for education to assist in rural development in a big way.

The objectives of the RDES Program are –

  • The Integration of development with education.
  • To stimulate the intellect through physical activities.
  • To broaden the horizon of experience of the students.
  • To reverse the rural to urban migration and to give a multi-skill base for specialisation.

The basic philosophy behind the program is that the segregation of intellectual and physical pursuits in different strata of society retards progress in this modern scientific and technological age. One way to overcome this is to integrate education and development. It is expected that this will make learning easier and better, because it is based on practical real life situations. It will also increase awareness of the local problems among the students and therefore be a preparation for the future. Integration will benefit both education and development economically as well, by fuller utilisation of the infrastructure provided for this course.

The principle of dignity of labour should be actively implemented by not having staff designated for unskilled work only. The students and the teachers must do all the related work together, and the community will share the burden when community services are involved. The community will also have a say in the practical programs of this course, insofar as the syllabus will require certain skills and areas of study.

The infrastructure needed has been designed with the expectation that a number of items required by the schools will be made by the staff. Thus a fair part of the materials consumed should be “capitalised” in the form of assets.

Finally the organisation, including the skills of the staff and the physical assets should be fully utilised, outside the formal rural technology program, by using it for giving paid services to the community, non-formal specialised courses and for work experience classes for non technical students.

The delinking of degrees/certificates from skills, should be encouraged by taking tutors who have learnt the requisite skills by experience over a period of time. Apprentices may be taken for this purpose and this should be encouraged.

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